Search for European Projects

Our Gardens Shall not be Divided: Youth Planting Seeds for a Sustainable Future
Start date: Jan 23, 2015, End date: Apr 23, 2015 PROJECT  FINISHED 

'Our Gardens Shall not be Divided' youth gathering took place for 10 days at the Kinderferien- und Tagungshaus Wernsdorf in Brandenburg. Forty-one participants joined the meeting from Russia, Germany, Austria, France and Ireland. Enthusiastic young people interested in learning about sustainable practice, agriculture, forestry and environmental welfare came together to swap ideas, skills and contribute towards planning an innovative future. The time spent together generated eager exchange between participants on a multitude of topics, creating an energetic and impactful learning environment and preparing all who took part for an active involvement in environmental change. The area around Wernsdorf village lent itself perfectly to investigation of a variety of natural environments. Guided canoe and bicycle trips were organised to observe local waterways and flatland areas. Field trips by foot and by car facilitated exploration of the nearby woodland areas and regional agricultural projects using sustainable practices. The meeting’s primary aim was for rural youth to incorporate an awareness of biodiversity in their future work in the fields of agriculture, forestry, animal farming and conservation. Youth were introduced to different practices and encouraged to critique and debate how industrial forestry, battery farming and large scale monoculture compared to responsible and environmentally sound agriculture. Pollution, fossil fuels, renewable energy, green-washing, veganism, recycling, de-growth, biodiversity, permaculture and the importance of regional food production were topics often discussed. On location in KUTW, practical workshops took place where participants built and used sustainable infrastructures and technology; solar power, composting, recycling building materials, open-air cooking, foraging, environmentally friendly household products, beekeeping, keeping hens, organic herb and vegetable gardening. The daily tasks of running the guesthouse facility at KUTW were introduced to participants. Consensus decision making, group work, self organisation, and skill sharing were emphasised as essential to a non hierarchical organisation and the entire meeting was run using these tools. Inclusivity in workshops and presentations concerning language, gender, and knowledge hierarchies were facilitated and tools to overcome these barriers were shared with participants throughout the gathering. One of the most enjoyable parts of the meeting was building networks between the partner groups. The participants from MOO, Gluaiseacht, KUTW, PIM and Memfarado had plenty of time to get to know each other, swap contact details and plan collaboration between the groups in the future. The mutual benefit of such relationships were clear and participants were eager to get to know other young people with similar interests active in contexts different to theirs. Much time was spent sharing stories about environmental campaigns, political and cultural situations in people's home countries, and understanding the difference between rural life in the five partner countries. Open days and publicity campaigns in the local area during the meeting has strengthened KUTW's place within the local Brandenburg context. The open day welcomed local youth and active members of the community to meet the participants and the members of KUTW. The results of the meeting were shared and links have been established with local school and youth groups. KUTW are looking forward to cooperation with local policy makers, with environmental campaigns in the area and in educational work for young people from the region. Educational documents and guides developed during 'Our Gardens' will play a big role in facilitating this new relationship. Organisers and group leaders were satisfied following feedback and evaluation rounds with participants that the goals set out in the initial stages of preparation were met. The young people who took part in 'Our Gardens' had access to and shared knowledge in a context previously unfamiliar to them. They exceeded expectations in their willingness to participate and take on responsibility, practice public speaking and contribute to a healthy and safe learning environment for all involved.
Up2Europe Ads



4 Partners Participants